Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Confinement

Good Tuesday afternoon everyone.  Sorry I missed you all together yesterday.  I'm still sick, of course.  Gee this is getting old.  I want to be tromping around the farm in my boots again as soon as possible!

I don't think confinement is healthy for anyone man, woman, child, or beast--and I don't mean Pip, either.  Laying around in bed or on the sofa for days on end is just not my idea of a good time.  I'd rather be riding seven or eight hours a day.  Or at least walking my average of 7 miles a day around the farm doing chores.  Not this laying around stuff. 

I think most folks feel the same way.  Or, if they are they lay around types, well, I think you'd feel better if you got out and about.  Unless of course you have some sort of disease that makes it impossible for you to get out and about.  Then, you're probably as stir crazy as I am right now!  I have a new level of sympathy for "shut ins" let me tell you!

You may remember I spoke of my stallion Sabio back in "Did You Learn Something?"  Remember Sabio had been confined the vast majority of his life.  He seemed to have adjusted to it, but I wanted him to be more like a normal horse. 

Getting outside to exercise is not only normal for horses, it's their true nature.  Horses are roaming, grazing creatures by nature.  Just think about the mustangs in New Mexico.  No one goes to round them up at night to go in a stall.  No, that's humans' idea of where to spend the night--inside.

Horses would rather be outside, no matter what the weather.  Except for extremely hot weather.  Then, they'd probably rather be outside roaming, just with more shade and a swimming hole!

In my effort to give Sabio a more normal horse existence until I sold him, I wanted him turned out every day.  But, he had to be kept separate  from the mares (girls) for obvious reasons.  He had to be kept separate from the geldings (neutered males) too.  Geldings and stallions will still fight even if though the geldings are "fixed."

So, Sabio was out by himself.  This is also not normal for horses.  They are herd animals by nature.  They are meant to be with others.  They will adjust to being alone if they are at least in sight and sound of other horses.  I tried to do that with Sabio.

Initially, Sabio kind'a liked the outside deal.  But, within a few days, he changed his mind.  Sabio started pacing up a storm.  Mack, my large animal vet, said to leave him outside that he would adjust.

Well,  Sabio paced a three foot trench around his paddock every night for about seven weeks.  My farm hands would refill it every morning.  Then, he started losing weight.  I called Mack to come out and look at him.

Mack kind'a scratched his head and said, "Well, put him back inside.  That's what he's gotten used to."

Sabio had been left inside the greater part of his eight years on this Earth.  He was taken out for 20 minutes every two weeks to exercise while his stall was cleaned.  Don't get me started on his stall!  Stalls have to be cleaned daily--not every two weeks.  

That treatment had literally changed his true nature.  He no longer wanted to roam and graze.  He no longer wanted to be with the herd.  He wanted back in his stall.

So, that's what we did.  We put Sabio in a nice clean stall with plenty of hay and water.  We talked to him as we did our daily chores in the barn.  He gained his weight back.  He calmed down again.  He was happy--nature changed and all.

I hope I don't end-up like Sabio after my confinement--broken of my true nature.  I don't think so, though.  I'm not sure they can keep me inside that long.  They surely can't keep me inside for eight years!  I've got plans before then!  Let me out!!!!!  I'm starting to feel like kicking my stall door the way Chief does!

Ok, well, I'm sure I'll get well eventually.  You stay healthy and get outside some.  It's good for you!  Let me know what it looks like out there, too!

Thanks for reading.  Have a great day.

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